In April 2006, a bald teacher from Scotland hit the headlines when he lost a disability claim. James Campbell, formerly an art teacher at Denny High School in Stirlingshire, took Falkirk Council to an employment tribunal claiming disability discrimination because he is bald.
He told the court he had suffered harassment as a result of his ‘disability’ which impacted on his daily life. Campbell, who also claimed constructive and unfair dismissal against the council, described how pupils perceived his baldness as a weakness in him. He said, “My baldness has had a substantial and long term adverse effect on my ability to do my job. How can I stand in front of a class with confidence to get on with my job when I am getting teased and bullied about baldness, when I think they are laughing at me all the time”.
Campbell, who retired in 2007, said the taunts got so bad that he felt compelled to avoid the corridors, where pupils would call him “baldy”, and was concerned that the pupils’ verbal abuse might become physical.
Falkirk Council argued that baldness was not a physical or mental impairment and was therefore not covered by the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA).
In the ruling the tribunal judge, Robert Gall, said, “I am of the view that baldness is not an impairment…It is an aspect of physical appearance, in effect, when unrelated to any other illness”. He added, “If baldness was to be regarded as an impairment then perhaps a physical feature such as a big nose, big ears or being smaller than average height might of themselves be regarded as an impairment under the DDA”.
Campbell may not have made a legitimate claim for baldness as a disability, however the case does raise some interesting questions about the effect that hair loss can have on an individual. While many people find themselves the butt of jokes, the balding process can be a traumatic and distressing experience. This raises stress levels which can make the hair loss even more severe.
If you are noticing thinning hair or hair loss, then there is help available in the form of hair loss treatments. Many types of hair loss can be successfully treated with an individualised treatment programme which supplements medications with hair growth boosters.
The Belgravia Centre offers free consultations to diagnose the condition and discuss treatment options. To book an appointment, please call 020 7730 6666 or message the clinic. Alternatively, complete the online diagnostic form for a consultation via the website.